Embattled Rep. Charlie Rangel is pulling a David Paterson and playing the race card amid new allegations he gave campaign money to three Democrats on the ethics panel investigating him, according to published reports.
A few weeks ago, Gov. Paterson got slammed for blaming poor media coverage on "racial" stereotypes. He said President Obama would be under the microscope next.
And despite the flak the governor took for his comments, Charlie Rangel upped and did the same thing.
Rangel said yesterday that "bias" and "prejudice" toward Obama are spurring opposition to health-care reform, according to The New York Post.
"Some Americans have not gotten over the fact that Obama is president of the United States. They go to sleep wondering, 'How did this happen?' " Rangel said.
Speaking at a forum on health care in Washington Heights, the longtime congressman suggested that anyone who had a problem with Obama's policies on the subject was obviously responding in an emotional manner – with prejudice.
Charlie took things a step further, comparing the fight for health care for the uninsured to the battle for civil rights; he talked about "doing the right thing" and the "right to live as human beings."
The White House, which was quick to disentangle itself from the racial web woven by Paterson, did not appear to have an immediate reaction to Rangel's comments.
Maybe that's because Paterson made it personal and Rangel made it about policy. Nonetheless, critics of Obama's plan lambasted Rangel for bringing up race, and some said he was just trying to draw attention away from his recent ethics troubles.
"Rangel is playing the race card. It's clear that the congressman is trying to galvanize the minority community that this is 'us against them,'" State Conservative Party leader Mike Long told the Post. "It's going to backfire. A majority of people will see through this."
Meanwhile, Rangel, a Harlem Democrat, is accused of proffering campaign funds to three party members on the ethics committee conducting a probe into his finances.
Charlie has been under investigation for neglecting to declare assets and pay millions on his taxes; last week it was reported that the politician conveniently "forgot" where he lived long enough to reap the benefits of tax and rent abatements on some properties.
Now, he's allegedly trying to pay off (in campaign donations) some of the people on the panel investigating him, reports WCBSTV. He gave one guy, who ended up returning the campaign funds, nearly $20,000.